Year B : Trinity and B.C.P. Trinity 8; Romans 8:12-17
Ro:8:12: Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15: For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Earlier, in Romans 6 Paul wrote that we are called to be servants or slaves of God, not servants to sin.
We can only achieve this if we live in God's strength. Helped by his Holy Spirit who lives within every believer.
In Romans 8 Paul writes about living in this way. In verses 12-17 he contrasts this with living 'after the flesh', or living according to our sinful nature. He says that if we live according to our sinful nature we will die. He is referring to the death of a relationship with God, not physical death.
The Spirit, however, does a number of things :
Read verse 13b, but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. If we live by the Spirit this will mortify, put to death, the things of the sinful nature. So by the working of God's Spirit within us we are freed from our old nature to serve God. This leads to us living. Living life in a right relationship with God.
Paul develops this in the next few verses.
He says that we are children of God. So we do not fear him but can approach him in an intimate way. Calling him 'Abba' the Hebrew word for 'Father'.
Sometimes you look at a child and can see the likeness of one of its parents. Perhaps, in its physical appearance or mannerisms. Paul says that we share the Spirit with God. This is what shows us, indeed guarantees us that we are his. So we can rejoice that we, weak and helpless sinners, have a right relationship with a powerful, helpful, perfect God who has chosen us. Unlike a natural parent, an adoptive parent may look at a child and say, 'No, I don't want this one'. But God has chosen us to be his children. We have been adopted, with all the privileges of a natural child. This includes the gift of the Holy Spirit who enables us to be united with God through his son, something we remember in this service.
So we have this relationship with God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Adoption also brings the promise of an inheritance. 17: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. We are heirs of God. Joint heirs with Christ. When Jesus returns, he will judge the living and the dead, and bring in his kingdom he will inherit what is rightfully his. And we will inherit what he has secured for us. Living in perfect fellowship with God and other believers. Unhindered by sin, pain, suffering, sorrow, sickness, and death.
But for the time being we live in a world where sin is rife. Where there are those things. This will include Christians suffering for their faith. Jesus was persecuted because he followed God's way, and people could not cope with this. Those who follow Jesus and live life his way will also attract opposition. So we can expect it. Even welcome it ! Because it reassures us that we are going the right way ! Like a signpost that confirms that we are on the right road. Yes, that way will involve us suffering with Jesus, but also being glorified with him.
Today and this week :
Let us thank God for his Holy Spirit, given to all who trust in Jesus.
Let us rely on God's Spirit to help us to put to death our sinful nature.
Let us rejoice that we are children of God, and heirs to his kingdom, even if this will involve us suffering with Jesus.